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CULTURAL | Reminiscing about Dr. Bo

Dr. Bo and Olive with Toto, Ingrid and Sophie

WITH Valentine’s Day just right around the corner, many are already making arrangements and reservations to make the day of romance on February 14 extremely happy to love and be loved.  But, unfortunately, some people are not just as lucky in life as they continue to mourn and grieve for their loved one who had passed away.  The death of a loved one is always difficult.  It is never easy to cope after a loved one dies.  I experienced this first hand when my father passed away; and my widowed mother was never the same again in having to mourn, grieve, cope and deal with such a major loss in the family.  This time, I saw the same heartbreaking mourning and grieving in dear Olive Panaligan-Puentespina when her beloved husband, the well-loved Dr. Roberto “Bo” Palmares Puentespina, Jr., passed away last November 15, 2021, after suffering from Esophageal cancer.

The happy couple, Dr. Bo and Olive Puentespina

     Davao’s popular veterinarian was well known for his advocacy works in wildlife conservation which included the critically endangered Philippine eagle.  Dr. Bo’s bird shows, where he dedicated 10 years of his active life in their family owned Malagos Garden Resort, were always well attended and so loved especially by children.  His passion in establishing the Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation to produce biofertilizers and his launching of the Yellow Drum Project to convert biodegradable waste on the household level from the landfill to the composting plant; and his earnest campaign on proper waste segregation to be able to turn biowaste into valuable soil conditioners and biofertilizers, are truly admirable undertakings.  Dr. Bo’s admirable objective was to help clean the environment while advancing the field of Philippine agriculture at the same time. Yes, Dr. Bo accomplished a lot in all of his 57 years well spent on this earth.  When he passed away, many things were written about his accomplishments—the precious legacy he left behind.  But what was Dr. Bo really like as a person?  Dr. Bo’s beloved wife, Olive, gives us a good picture of the man she truly loves dearly.

Portrait of Dr. Bo by Archt. Cecile D. Hidalgo
The mourning of a well-loved wife

     “As a new wife living in Davao, I saw how devoted Bo was to his parents.  Every time we’d go out, we would see to it that on our way home, we would pass by the street in Bo. Obrero where Mama (Charita Palmares-Puentespina) and Tatay (Roberto Puentespina, Sr.) live.  Bo just wanted to be assured that both his parents were alright.  He was malambing especially with his mom whom he would teasingly give a pinch or two.  Mama would cringe in pain and would end up running after him.”

     “As my husband, Bo would always think of what would be best for me.  He would always come home from work with the expected greetings like, ‘Ma, I have the best banana cue for you!  Pinipilahan ito sa Calinan ha!’ or ‘Ma, I have the best durian for you.  Binili ko sa tabi ng UP pero kinain ko na yung isa.’  In my husband’s eyes, I am the perfect woman.  He tried hard to be a good person; and he was really preparing to grow old with me in the farm.”

     “As a father, Bo tried hard to be always there for our children.  But due to the many projects he was constantly doing, these took most of his time away from the kids.  But he loved our kids ever so dearly expressing himself in ways which could be annoying at times but truly endearing.”

     “I fell in love with Bo’s soul since the start of our relationship. He was a very responsible dude back then, so dependable and so kind as he was truly a God-fearing man.  How I miss his presence terribly; his just being there with us.  I miss his spontaneity, his joy de vivre.  I miss his dreams for us including the ultimate wish for us to be together in our sunset years.  Bo had always been a dreamer.”

      “Yes, we are healing as much as we are coping with our great loss.  It has dawned on us that our lives will never be the same again with Bo now gone forever.  But I need to continue his dream of a waste-free Philippines.  I guess there is a greater purpose why he was taken away so early in life.  I rest in the thought that my beloved husband is now in a much better place where there is no more pain, no more frustration, and no more defeat.  I can only pray that one day, I will be reunited with my Bo again.”

     Thank you, dear Olive, for sharing.  God bless you and your children Toto, Ingrid and Sophie.  To tita Charita, Jun, Ed, Rex and Charisse Palmares Puentespina, may time heal your sorrow. 


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